race and place: investigating racial differences in the spatial patterning of mortality through social capital theory

Open Access
Prather, Chris Thomas
Graduate Program:
Master of Arts
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 19, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Glenn A Firebaugh, Thesis Advisor
  • Stephen Matthews, Thesis Advisor
  • Barrett Alan Lee, Thesis Advisor
  • John Iceland, Thesis Advisor
  • social capital
  • race
  • spatial autocorrelation
  • spatial autoregression
  • inequality
  • mortality
This paper shows that health outcomes, measured by mortality, have distinct spatial patterning. Focusing on the ten leading causes of mortality in the United States, I utilize the lens of social capital theory to link environment to health, differentiating between contextual and compositional effects and their place in the role of social capital. I also analyze racial differences in mortality, and connect social capital theory with mortality to examine whether the spatial patterning of mortality is due to spatial processes that occur in the cause of death, or spatial patterning of the underlying processes that result in mortality. This insight is used to help shed light on why these racial differences might exist.